It was Liverpool`s turn to visit the newly crowned Fortress of the English Premier League. With only 1 loss at home, it would always be tough to crack the Rovers Defence, back to full strength with Chimbonda, Nelsen, Samba and Givet protecting Robinson`s goal. Benni McCarthy was given a timely recall to the Rovers frontline, partnering Franco Di Santo upfront. Grella and Nzonzi held the midfield whilst Emerton and Diouf raided the flanks?.
In what can only be described as a dire first half, neither side managed a clear cut opportunity. Blackburn dominated the early 15 minutes with a short passing game which has not been seen at Ewood for many a year. Grella was linking up with Emerton on the right flank, whilst Benni McCarthy was up to all his tricks in an attempt to break the strong Liverpool back line.
Liverpool, without questionably the best striker in the world, Fernando Torres, relied on Steven Gerrard playing the box to box roll, with Dirt Kuyt holding the front line. Dirt, was stopped in his tracks on several occasions, with Ryan Nelsen and Samba dominating anything coming their way. Liverpools best chance in the opening half occurred once Gerrard was set free down the right side of the penalty box. Only a last ditch tackle from Ryan Nelsen prevented the English midfielder from striking at goal.
Diouf and McCarthy wasted set piece opportunities for Rovers, as the first half really fizzed away?0-0 Half Time
The second 45, completely the opposite. Blackburn could of got of to the brightest of starts. A delightful throughball found the path of Franco Di Santo. However, the young man once again showed his lack of composure in front of goal, looking at the assistant to see if he was onside. In that fraction of a second, the Liverpool custodian was given enough time to dash out, forcing Di Santo into an error, without even a shot on goal?..
The Reds were growing increasingly frustrated at their inability to break down the Rovers defence, with Steven Gerrard taking two shots from distance, drifting wide of the goal. Brett Emerton tried his luck on the opposite end, with his shot also glancing wide. Di Santo made way for Hoillet?
The game started to open up much more, with both teams starting to take a direct approach. The best chance for Liverpool fell to David Ngog. A blistering run down the right flank saw the ball cut across goal to Ngog. With an open net, the ball took a wicked bounce, striking Ngog`s shin and crashing into the crossbar, the loose ball was volleyed, however a desperate header from Samba preventing the shot hitting the back of the net.
Rovers then countered, the ball drifting out wide to Diouf, who cut in to McCarthy. Benni tried to set up Hoillet, however the ball rebounded straight back into his path. His strike at goal drifted wide, the story of the day?..That proved to be Benni`s final contribution, as Kalinic came on for the South African. Andrews came on for Di Santo with 6 minutes to go?.
Blackburn had the chance to seal the game in injury time. Junior Hoillet picked up the ball in midfield, darted 30 yards then split the defence, leaving Kalinic 1 on 1 with Reira. The goal keeper put Kalinic of, with the young striker only able to poke the ball wide of the goal?..0-0
Paul Robinson 6.5
2 good Saves from Robbo, apart from that, fluffed another free kick, fortunately it sprayed wide…..nervous times
Ryan Nelsen 9
Chris Samba 7.5
Solid game from Chris, desperate header keeping the clean sheet. However, his attacking game is lacking since Gamst is no longer in the side. As long as we dont concede, I’m happy
Pascal Chimbonda 7
Strong out wide, linking with Emerton on several occasions. Got stuck in when needed, works well on the counter
Gael Givet 5.5
Off the pace today, was beaten several times down the left flank by much faster opposition. Fortunately, Nelsen was always there to cover. He has faded away in the last few weeks, better step his game up otherwise Chimbonda will be shifted back to the left
Steven Nzonzi 6
Quiet game from the wounded warrior. Nice nifty passing, but gave away a few unneccesary fouls
VInce Grella 7
Solid game from Vince. Really tried to direct play with the absence of Dunny, with some great switch of play. Hopefully he and Nzonzi can keep building on that midfield combination
El Hadji Diouf 6.5
Looked dangerous down the flank, then looked shocking down the flank. The best of both worlds from Diouf…..looked kind of embarresing with all his whinging late on, fortunately he was taken of
Brett Emerton 8
I could just copy and paste the same comments every week. Workhorse, hunted his man down all game, quick on the counter, sprayed a shot wide, tough as always.
Benni McCarthy 7.5
Good game from Benni. He was hungry, he chased, he passed, tried to string the one two plays, worked well in linking up with the midfield. Must be a regular starter.
Franco Di Santo 6
Franco, Franco, Franco…..the first thing you learn as a footballer, play the whistle…..why on earth did he have to look at the assistant….scuffed that opportunity, forced a nice save later on by Reina, but thats not what people will remember…..another game, another chance gone begging
Junior Hoillet 7
The more I see, the more I like….The kid has pace, the kid has vision, but cant shoot. Arrghhh…story of our lives?
Looks like we have 3 in a row who cant finish! What a glorious chance in the last minute….Personally, he should of rounded the keeper, at worst, we would of got a free kick and a red card for Reira….
No time to impact
Jason Roberts Acadamy of Shooting……
Kalinic, Di Santo, Hoillet are all attending on a regular basis…..Surely, we do some shooting practice at training, hopefully not under the watchful eye of Jason Roberts!